Icebreaker: How did you celebrate graduating from JHU?

My husband, Changji Shi, Engr '14 (MSE), and I celebrated our graduation at the universitywide Commencement. There were a lot of graduates, and we were assigned to two different sides to get into Homewood Field to be seated. We never thought we would find each other during the ceremony, but by mere chance, we actually met right at the place where the two groups of graduates joined to walk in from the two sides. We held hands while we walked in side by side. It felt like, for a few seconds, the ceremony was just for the two of us. It was the best way to celebrate our journey together as Johns Hopkins students, best friends, and family. —Muzi Na, BSPH '10 (MHS), '14 (PhD)

Graduating from JHU was nothing like I had planned (read: a celebratory trip to Disney World). I was wrapping up my thesis for a master's in public health biology and heard about the spread of a novel virus in late February 2020. As a virology aficionado, I thought to myself, "This is it; this is the big one." I wish I hadn't been right, but it was true. Being the first in my family to graduate from college, and now graduate school, I was disappointed we wouldn't be in person. Somehow, amid the lockdowns and Zoom hurdles, my family and community showed up to support me virtually and rejoice in my win. I had nowhere to go, but I still got dressed in my regalia and paraded around the small park in front of my apartment building with my husband, dog, and 2-year-old son in tow. At Hopkins or at home, it was going to be a party regardless. To my surprise, several neighbors cheered from their balconies for me. I was humbled and thankful for that moment. While it wasn't what I had envisioned, it was still a success that deserved celebration. Now I look back and tell others about my graduation from a public health program at Hopkins during the middle of a pandemic. Who would've guessed? P.S. I still went to Disney World in the end! —Karina Chavarria, BSPH '20 (MA)

I drove to California to start a career in show business. —Jeff Altman, A&S '73

My best friend and I spent the week after graduation in a condo, owned by an uncle, in Ocean City. We ate lots of crab cakes and just had fun. —Stefan Sommerfield, A&S '67

We went to the lacrosse finals at Rutgers Stadium. It was epic! —Heidi Gordon, A&S '87

I will be visiting Greece for the first time with my parents. —Bridgette Kim, Engr '23

I graduated from Hopkins, was commissioned in the Army, and got married—all in the same week of June 1966. I celebrated graduation and all the rest by going on my honeymoon. —J. Michael Hemsley, Engr '66

I was at the universitywide Commencement when all of a sudden the girl next to me hands me a plastic champagne glass and a few minutes later pours me some champagne. Come to find out, a mutual friend of ours had smuggled in champagne and cups in her graduation robe. —Laura Johannsen, Nurs '93

After passing my boards and officially becoming a nurse (thanks to the No. 1 nursing school in the country), I found a job. When my start date was pushed back a month, I went to Costa Rica. My nursing school friend and roommate met me a few days later. We learned how to surf, whitewater rafted through the jungle, rode our bikes for many kilometers, lived in our bathing suits, ate cacao, and almost took home a little dog. —Amy Moon, Nurs '15

Next up: As the newest class of Blue Jays joins Johns Hopkins, we want to know: Who was your first friend at Hopkins? Send responses to with "Icebreaker" in the subject line. If we print your response, we'll send you a JHU pocket notebook.